Artwork thanks every single person who worked at Yukon College

·2 min read
Recognize anyone? The new installation in Whitehorse includes the names of more than 800 people who played a role at Yukon College over the years. (Philippe Morin/CBC - image credit)
Recognize anyone? The new installation in Whitehorse includes the names of more than 800 people who played a role at Yukon College over the years. (Philippe Morin/CBC - image credit)

A new piece of art in Whitehorse includes a veritable "who's who" of Yukon College.

More than 800 names have been set into metal plates and affixed to an exterior wall on the Ayamdigut campus of the school, now known as Yukon University.

The installation celebrates everyone who played any role in the college from 1988 to 2020.

It treats all jobs equally, from professor to custodial worker.

Yukon College became Yukon University last year, making it the first Canadian university north of 60.

Karen Barnes, former Yukon College president and now president emerita of Yukon University, speaks at the unveiling of the new artwork, which features a formline salmon from Selkirk First Nation artist Eugene Alfred.
Karen Barnes, former Yukon College president and now president emerita of Yukon University, speaks at the unveiling of the new artwork, which features a formline salmon from Selkirk First Nation artist Eugene Alfred. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Former president Karen Barnes and her husband Dean MacKay donated the funds to install the new artwork. An arrangement of plaques also features a bright red salmon designed by Selkirk First Nation artist Eugene Alfred.

"It was built by you," Barnes said to a few assembled staff members on Thursday. "I wanted to make sure that you were all acknowledged for the work you do."

Father and son both on the plaque

The mural celebrates not only teachers and academic staff but also support staff.

Randy Spinks has been facilities manager on campus for 21 years. His name appears, as does that of his father Cecil Spinks, who worked 15 years as a custodial manager at Yukon College.

"It's awesome to see, you know, a couple generations, both of us on the plaque, plus my wife [Kimberly Spinks] also works here at the university so she's also on the plaque," Spinks said.

"A lot of the department have retired and passed over the years. It's nice to see them on the plaque and be recognized."

A close-up look at salmon art by Selkirk First Nation artist Eugene Alfred.
A close-up look at salmon art by Selkirk First Nation artist Eugene Alfred. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
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